Now how is that for a catchy title? I can divide my readership all in that one phrase.. IF I meant it.. and I do not. I REPEAT I DO NOT!
No it was not sweeps week in the Christian blog biz, and I did not use this title to roll my eyes ( no holy roller pun intended ) at those who would are a bit more charismatic than me. Truth be told.. WOOD is more charismatic than I am.
You see I was brought up in a wonderful small town little white church (both the building and the people) in Cable Wisconsin.. this is where I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was 6 years old. I appreciate my church upbringing, and the people who made up my church heritage.
The denomination was Christian Missionary Alliance (protestant) which was founded by A.B. Simpson, and like the 'Apostle' John (Denver) sang.. “Thank God I’m a Country Boy!”
So what does any of this have to do with being Pentecostal or charismatic? Literally Nothing.
There was an Assembly of God church in town, and they were the 'other' Christians. There was also a Lutheran, Catholic, and Congregational church.. and truth be told I did not know much about any of them. The funny (not funny) baggage I picked up on was that our church was the good one, and the other churches.. well .. while there I am sure are Christians in those churches.. but my church was the one doing it the right way. This was not taught to me, but this was my tainted perception.
Now fast forward 40+ years from when I accepted Jesus at age 6, and for about a year I found myself attending a small church that would describe themselves as charismatic and Pentecostal.
Doesn’t God have a great sense of humor?
We were there because my daughter Erin had connected with a youth group that is the best I could pray for. In this little charismatic church my daughter was loved and taught to love God and others. Though the energy, hand raising, and some dancing of sorts during worship stretched my comfort zone.. the teaching was down to Earth, AND also recognized the healing and amazing power of God for our lives.
I don’t speak in tongues nor do I pursue it BUT I desire to NEVER PUT A LID ON how God may work, how God may heal, how God may speak, and how God may choose to work through his people or how he may choose to work in me.
You may be wondering where I am going with this.. so here is my point. Just like Republican, or Democrat are labels of man, so is Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, Pentecostal, OR any other denomination man's theological labels. Love God with all your heart soul and mind, and love others as you love yourself! These are the greatest commandments, and all other laws and DENOMINATIONS (should be) built on this.
So while being a Christian cartoonist and self proclaimed humorist I do find Charismatics make me smile and roll my eyes sometimes.. but I must be honest that we all are pretty funny in our differences. And.. VIVA LA DIFFERENCE!
One body, many parts.. and plenty of room for those who want to raise their hands, dance, speak in tongues, don’t speak in tongues, cry, laugh, shout halleluiah, shout amen brother, or sit on ample butt while all worshiping God. Our God is big. He is too big to be put into a man made box with any denomination label sticker on it. This is the good news, .. this is GREAT news.
Love God, love others, love yourself.. SMILE MON!! Thus declares Jeff.. Pentecostal in training.
I pray God would bless and use His people as they serve Him. I pray God gives us appreciation for those who obviously love the Lord and serve Him but may worship differently than we do. AGAIN.. The Church is one body, many parts as He designed.
Jeff (hand raiser now sometimes) Larson
Note: Since the original writing of this email, we no longer attend this Pentecostal church, but I pray I never forget the lessons of taking the lid off what is possible when God is present. Is this Pentecostal thinking? Maybe, AND it certainly is biblical.
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson